Joe Philbin Left His Mark On Many Young Packers

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An article from the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Oct, 7th 6:16pm

Talks about Joe Philbin's relationships with players and the respect they have for him along with his accomplishments, the adversity he has overcome, and the positive impressions he left as a coach with the Green Bay Packers.

Jarrett Bush was a young, unproven player, trying to impress his new coaches. Joe Philbin was a coach on the rise, making sure his voice was heard loud and clear. Back in 2006, that was a dangerous concoction inside the Green Bay Packers scout team.

Philbin, the Miami Dolphins' head coach today, was a Packers assistant from 2003-'11 and their offensive coordinator his last five years in Green Bay. Part of Philbin's duties early on was running the scout team. When Bush arrived in Green Bay as a street free agent, he felt one way to make his mark was to shine with the scout team — even if that meant ad-libbing a bit. Philbin, though, wasn't big on that. "He used to run the scout team and I'd run the cards for him," Bush said of Philbin. "And I'd make a play and he'd be like, 'J.B., that's not what the cards say.' And I'd be like, 'Hey, I just made a play, I'm trying to do my job over here.' "It was kind of a love-hate relationship. We used to get after each other pretty good, but we understood each other. We were cool."

Cornerback Tramon Williams, a scout team member himself back in 2006, tells a similar story. "I was a young guy and a lot of young guys get yelled at and I'm not good with getting yelled at," Williams said. "So me and Joe actually got into this thing one day." He was yelling, 'Where is the nickel (back)?' and I was actually right in front of his face. So he's yelling and making a big scene and I yelled back, 'I'm the nickel. I'm the nickel.' And we were yelling at each other for a minute, but from that point on it was like we had a connection."

Most of the Packers had a connection with Philbin. And many can't wait to see their former coach Sunday, when Green Bay travels to Miami. Philbin was one of the most popular people in the Packers organization during his time in Green Bay. He helped the Packers' offense reach new heights during a memorable 2011 season.

But Philbin's 21-year-old son, Michael, drowned in January 2012. Later that week, Green Bay lost to the New York Giants in the NFC divisional playoffs. And just days later, Philbin was hired by Miami.

For many Packers, this will be the first time they've seen Philbin since that chaotic, painful stretch. "That was one of the toughest weeks I've ever had to go through as a professional, to see a friend in pain like that," Packers fullback John Kuhn said. "It touched every person in this whole organization. "That's why it's going to be cool to see him. I really respect Joe as a coach and as a friend and it's going to be nice to see him. The whole time he was here, he made it enjoyable to be an offensive player. And he was more than a coach — he was a great guy, as well. He made it fun to play football."

Williams agreed. "That was a tough, tough time," Williams said. "You never want anything like that to happen. That's a tough situation, but I'm glad Joe got his just due, got an opportunity and a chance to start over somewhere else and have some success."

Philbin, the only Mike McCarthy assistant to land a head coaching job, earned a chance in Miami thanks largely to everything he accomplished in Green Bay.

Philbin didn't call the plays for McCarthy's offense. But he had a huge role in game day planning, was arguably the finest teacher on McCarthy's staff, and was McCarthy's eyes and ears form the press box on game days. The Packers finished in the top 10 in scoring and total offense each of Philbin's five years as Green Bay's offensive coordinator. And the Packers scored a franchise record 560 points (35.0 per game) during Philbin's final year in 2011.

In the time since Philbin's departure, Green Bay's offense has taken a minor step back. The Packers have averaged 26.6 points per game in the 37 regular season games since Philbin left, after averaging 28.3 in the 80 games Philbin was the offensive coordinator.

"I honestly think we lost a little bit when he left," Packers wideout Jordy Nelson said. "Joe was great, a hard worker, knew his stuff, held everyone accountable and I think he was a big part of what we did when he was here."

Things haven't gone as smoothly for Philbin in Miami. He's 17-19 in two-plus seasons and has yet to have a winning record. Miami is currently 2-2 and in third place in the AFC East. Philbin was barbecued in many circles for claiming ignorance during the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin bullying scandal that took place inside his own locker room last season. But he bought himself another year by firing five assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Mike Sherman — his former boss in Green Bay.

This year hasn't exactly been smooth sailing either. Philbin created a rift with quarterback Ryan Tannehill when he refused to name him the starter before Miami's Week 4 game against Oakland. "It creates a bunch of stir and a bunch of distraction in the locker room, mostly from the outside coming in and guys having to deal with the distraction of it," Tannehill said. "So it's not a good feeling."

For the most part, though, the Packers have plenty of good feelings when it comes to Philbin. And that's why Sunday should be fun for many of them. "Everybody loved Joe and he was very passionate about his job," Packers right guard T.J. Lang said. "I know everybody was sad that he left, but I'm obviously very happy for him that he got the chance he did." Added linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal: "Joe's a great guy and it's always fun to go back and play against coaches we know. Hats off to Joe for everything he's accomplished. It's going to be a fun game. I just hope we have a good game against those guys."
 

KTOWNFINFAN

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I totally agree with the article, Joe is a nice guy and a good coordinator. He reminds me a lot of Cam Cameron, a solid OC but a terrible leader. I imagine the packers would be a better team with Joe back helping their offense, and I certainly think the dolphins would be a better team if Joe was back helping the packers.
 

LDaniel7

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Philbin isn't a terrible coach.

Several things really hurt him his first two years: Myopia with his offensive coordinator and OL coach, nepotism w. the QB coach, fear of being challenged by players (causing him to jettison LBs and Reggie -- bad, bad move), and radically missing on drafts and talent acquisition.

With all the drama and worst OL play in the history of the league, Miami was still in a position to make playoffs if only... if only... if only... they weren't utterly dominated in the trenches, and had little playmaking talent outside a nicked Wallace.

So the jury's still out on him in some ways. In other ways, he's still missing on putting the best 53 on the field, imo. Myopia is a heck of a drug.

LD
 

spiketex

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Philbin isn't a terrible coach.

Several things really hurt him his first two years: Myopia with his offensive coordinator and OL coach, nepotism w. the QB coach, fear of being challenged by players (causing him to jettison LBs and Reggie -- bad, bad move), and radically missing on drafts and talent acquisition.

With all the drama and worst OL play in the history of the league, Miami was still in a position to make playoffs if only... if only... if only... they weren't utterly dominated in the trenches, and had little playmaking talent outside a nicked Wallace.

So the jury's still out on him in some ways. In other ways, he's still missing on putting the best 53 on the field, imo. Myopia is a heck of a drug.

LD
Re the nepotism with the QB coach - Nepotism with the appointment (Joe let Sherman bring his son-in-law) but I'm not so certain that Zack Taylor is as dumb and incompetent as most suggest. Lazor is now calling the shots re Tannehill's development as a QB and I doubt that Taylor would still be around if he was no good. We will see through this season, if Tannehill makes the necessary progress re his development as a QB. Taylor is also learning the new Offensive system, but the feedback I get is that he's decent. You can bet that Lazor is holding his coaching staff accountable. If Taylor is still around next year, he's probably seen as a good developmental prospect as a coach. Apparently he aspires to be a head coach. And before you laugh too hard, years ago we heard the same about Jason Garrett when he was the Dolphin QB Coach.
 

Sarnics13

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What I get from that is that either A) his sons death has affected him severely----as anyone could imagine it would
B) The make-up of our front office is a cage of buffoons

You don't get that kind of resounding praise (with that much heartfelt passion for the guy) if you don't know how to coach and mentor your players. I've been pretty down on him lately but that really shows me something about him.

Funny that there is people screaming for Harbaugh when all of HIS reports are that the players hate his guts and have ZERO support of him.....yet 4 years later our opposing team can't wait to come see their mentor and have nothing but praise for him as a leader.
 

J. David Wannyheimer

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Re the nepotism with the QB coach - Nepotism with the appointment (Joe let Sherman bring his son-in-law) but I'm not so certain that Zack Taylor is as dumb and incompetent as most suggest. Lazor is now calling the shots re Tannehill's development as a QB and I doubt that Taylor would still be around if he was no good. We will see through this season, if Tannehill makes the necessary progress re his development as a QB. Taylor is also learning the new Offensive system, but the feedback I get is that he's decent. You can bet that Lazor is holding his coaching staff accountable. If Taylor is still around next year, he's probably seen as a good developmental prospect as a coach. Apparently he aspires to be a head coach. And before you laugh too hard, years ago we heard the same about Jason Garrett when he was the Dolphin QB Coach.
Joe has final say on the staff. Lazor doesn't choose his staff.
 

trojanma

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I think the thing that really hurt Philbin coming here is the only exposure he ever had was Green Bay(let that be a lesson to us down the road).
Given how many executives and coaches that team exports to other franchises speaks how incredibly functional and integrated it is.
Since 1993 - 16 playoffs and 2 super bowls.
Thats a stunning level of success, and it speaks to the level of functionality in their organization.

Unfortunately Miami had to be built from the Ground Up and Philbin did not have the tools to do that, because he never had to.
 

datruth55

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Philbin isn't a terrible coach.

Several things really hurt him his first two years: Myopia with his offensive coordinator and OL coach, nepotism w. the QB coach, fear of being challenged by players (causing him to jettison LBs and Reggie -- bad, bad move), and radically missing on drafts and talent acquisition.

With all the drama and worst OL play in the history of the league, Miami was still in a position to make playoffs if only... if only... if only... they weren't utterly dominated in the trenches, and had little playmaking talent outside a nicked Wallace.

So the jury's still out on him in some ways. In other ways, he's still missing on putting the best 53 on the field, imo. Myopia is a heck of a drug.

LD
lol...awesome story bro.

Which LBs should we have kept? Not one was living up to their pay check. Don't you think Jeff Ireland had something to do with Reggie Bush leaving? You think Ireland wanted to keep Reggie when he just traded up the previous two years for RBs in Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller...I'm certain Ireland wanted to prove his picks were better than Reggie but he couldn't do it with Reggie in the way and it was Ireland that was responsible for the draft picks and talent acquisition.

I guess in your story Philbin all of a sudden had an epiphany and learned how to acquire talent since he started 5 new offensive lineman, something never done before outside of an expansion team, and has them playing significantly better than the O-line from the previous year. Not to mention Barry Jackson pointed out in a recent blog how this years free agents and draft picks are outperforming recent acquisitions...but I'm sure you wouldn't give Philbin the credit...that's Hickey's doing. Philbin only gets blame in your fairy tale.
 

roy_miami

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My thoughts on the Reggie departure are it was less Philbin saying Bush was too leader-ey for his liking and wanted him off the team and more him saying if he had to choose between Bush's 15 snaps a game and signing a WR, TE, CB, and/or LBers that can cover he'd go with the latter. I believe Philbin believes that everything can only work if each man in the organization does their own job and that includes the GM and Head Coach, I think he just gives his input on what he needs to make his system work and lets the GM decide on the talent vs money spent value. And even if Philbin doesn't believe that I'm pretty sure Ireland would have demanded that type of relationship.

I think Hickey and Philbin make a pretty good match. They both share the philosophy that players should earn playing time through competition regardless of how much money they make or where they were drafted. They both seem to be analytical in nature. They both want competitive players that eat, sleep and breathe football, Ju'Wuan James and Jarvis Landry seem to fit that bill. Dion Jordan and Mike Pouncey not so much.

I think Philbin goes to Hickey and says 'hey, I don't think we can remain competitive with any of the potential centers on the roster.' And Hickey says 'OK, let me see what I can do."

Whereas Ireland probably would have just said 'F-off.'

I don't want to say Philbin is rewarding Hickey by playing his players more but he is helping to make Hickey look good right now. I think they both appreciate each other.
 

Zounds

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Reggie Bush had a decent year with the Lions last year, but I doubt he would have had half that success on our team last year. Reggie gave us a little boost after Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown moved on, but I definitely don't miss his dancing and prancing style of running. I cant imagine how awful he would be in a true ZBS, and he's not a good enough RB that you change you scheme for him. He is in Detroit under a scheme can can be effective in.
 

KTOWNFINFAN

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Reggie Bush had a decent year with the Lions last year, but I doubt he would have had half that success on our team last year. Reggie gave us a little boost after Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown moved on, but I definitely don't miss his dancing and prancing style of running. I cant imagine how awful he would be in a true ZBS, and he's not a good enough RB that you change you scheme for him. He is in Detroit under a scheme can can be effective in.
NAILED it. You sir are 100% correct. Reggie led the league 2 out of his first 4 yrs in negative runs. He has been in the top 13 every year he has been a pro. The lions signing him was my favorite signing that year. He turned so many 2nd and 1s into 3rd and 6/8 I couldn't count them. Reggie "the driver killer" Bush would have been better in this system but I certainly don't miss him.
 
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